The Truth About Eggs, Cholesterol and Your Health

Eggs contain cholesterol—but that doesn’t mean what you think it means.

Egg FarmersPhoto Credit: Abbey Sharp

Would you believe that almost a quarter of Canadians believe that eggs pose a risk to their heart health? Sure you would, because you’ve heard that myth, too. But eggs can be part of a heart-healthy diet. Here’s why.

Cholesterol 101

Cholesterol gets a bad rap, but a large proportion of the cholesterol in our bodies is naturally produced by our liver and is key for creating hormones, bile acids and vitamin D. We also consume some cholesterol from foods such as meat, dairy, egg yolks and shellfish. The fascinating thing? Our bodies can regulate the amount of cholesterol in our blood. So, if you eat more, your body will produce less. That’s why dietary cholesterol has minimal impact on blood cholesterol levels in most people.

Eggs, Cholesterol and a Healthy Diet

Yes, eggs do contain cholesterol—about 200 mg in one large egg. But that doesn’t mean consuming eggs will raise the cholesterol levels in our blood. In fact, current dietary guidelines by the Canadian Cardiovascular Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation don’t limit dietary cholesterol to a specific number for healthy adults. And, according to recent research, eggs aren’t associated with increased risk for heart disease. Eggs are an excellent source of protein (13 grams in two large eggs), which is key for building and maintaining muscle and fighting infections. They’re also packed with nutrients like iron, folate and vitamins A, D, and B12 and can improve the absorption of nutrients from vegetables.

Registered Dietitian Abbey Sharp adds: “With 13 grams of protein in two eggs plus vitamins A, D, E, folate, zinc and choline, eggs are a nutritious addition to any meal of the day. We also know that eating eggs has minimal impact on blood cholesterol, so there’s no need to limit them for healthy adults.”

Egg FarmersPhoto Credit: Abbey Sharp

A Holistic Approach to Heart Health

For better heart health, look at your habits. Are you eating a variety of whole foods (think fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lower-fat dairy and lean proteins)? Are you managing your stress and staying active? Rather than restricting your intake of dietary cholesterol, studies show that you’ll actually have better cardiovascular results by taking a balanced approach to your lifestyle—and that can include one or two eggs each day!

“I love pairing a few hard boiled eggs with a piece of fruit for a mid-day snack, a simple frittata for breakfast, and shakshuka at dinner or lunch,” continues Abbey.

Go ahead and try these egg-based recipes for a nutritious meal at any time of the day.

For Breakfast: Vegetable Frittata

Yes, it makes a tasty and nutritious breakfast—but you can also have it for lunch or dinner!

Egg FarmersPhoto Credit: eggs.ca

Serves: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) milk
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh dill
  • ¼ tsp (1.25 mL) each salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (250 mL) fresh peas
  • ¼ lb (0.2 kg) asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
  • 1 cup (250 mL) halved grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup (125 mL) finely crumbled goat cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250oF (180oC).
  2. In bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, basil, dill, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in 10-inch (25 cm) oven-proof non-stick skillet set over medium heat.
  4. Cook green onions and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes or until garlic is golden.
  5. Add peas and asparagus. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender-crisp.
  6. Pour in egg mixture. Cook, without stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until eggs start to set around edges.
  7. Sprinkle tomatoes and goat cheese over top.
  8. Transfer to oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are golden and top is puffy.

For Lunch: Easy Pack-and-Go Salad

Veggies, legumes and eggs make for a well-rounded lunch on busy days.

Egg FarmersPhoto Credit: eggs.ca

Serves: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup (125 mL) sliced cucumbers (half-moons)
  • ½ cup (125 mL) halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup (125 mL) canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced shallot
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp (2.5 mL) honey
  • ¼ tsp (1.25 mL) each salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Divide spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, chickpeas and eggs between two resealable containers.
  2. Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients. Pour into two small resealable containers. Pack along with salad.

For Dinner: Zucchini Pasta

Low in carbs and high in taste, this tasty pasta dish with zucchini and eggs is ready in 10 minutes!

Egg FarmersPhoto Credit: eggs.ca

Serves: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, fried
  • 12 oz (354 g) prepared zucchini noodles
  • ½ cup (125 mL) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) basil pesto

Instructions:

  1. Blanch zucchini noodles in boiling water until slightly softened.
  2. Drain well, squeezing gently to release moisture.
  3. Toss with tomatoes and pesto.
  4. Divide between two plates and top each serving with a fried egg.

For more healthy and delicious recipes using eggs, visit egg.ca/recipes

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